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Utah Jazz: Okur likely won't play in playoff opener

Published: Friday, July 31 2015 8:38 p.m. MDT

It isn't official yet, but the Utah Jazz will likely play Game 1 of their first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers without Mehmet Okur.

The usual starting center didn't participate in the Jazz shoot-around practice Saturday morning and hasn't trained with the team all week since straining his right hamstring against the Clippers on Monday.

Okur says there's "little chance" he'll play on Sunday.

It is, however, looking like C.J. Miles will be available for the series opener. The usual starting small forward practiced with the team Saturday and says his dislocated left index finger feels good enough to go.

Coach Jerry Sloan, though, wasn't ready to commit to what starting lineup or player rotation he'll use in Sunday afternoon's game at Staples Center.

"I haven't decided for sure how I'm going to start all away around," Sloan said. "I've been mulling that around here a little bit."

Though he suggested Okur wouldn't start after missing all of the Jazz's practices this week, the coach did leave the door slightly open that his 6-11 big man might see some action.

If Okur doesn't start, Sloan said he will again turn to veteran big man Jarron Collins to take to the court at tipoff time and not rookie center Kosta Koufos or second-year reserve Kyrylo Fesenko.

Okur is improving, he says, but he isn't about to predict whether he'll get playing time in Game 1 or even Tuesday's Game 2 yet. With his right upper leg tightly wrapped, Okur talked to reporters after shooting free throws and while riding a stationary bicycle.

"I wasn't able to do anything so far, no practice, not even running stuff. But it's getting better right now," said Okur, who missed the regular-season finale Tuesday against the Lakers.

"Little chance to play at least tomorrow, but good thing is I'm getting better," he added. "I can't even run 100 percent so it's hard to play if you can't run."

Miles was almost giddy that he was able to get out and run with the guys. He even stayed after shootaround was over and worked on one-on-one drills with Koufos and assistant coach Ty Corbin.

"I was able to go full speed today and a little bit yesterday and I was able to put some range on my shot," said Miles, who's missed five of the past six games with the injury. "So my plan is to play tomorrow, that's my plans."

Matt Harpring, who started the past two games in Miles' place, said he isn't sure whether he'll start Sunday. Miles said he didn't care whether or not he starts, he's just excited to play.

"I'm ready to go," he said. "Whatever it is, if the minutes are different, if my position is different, whatever it takes, I'm just going to try to just help the team win that's all I want to do."

jody@desnews.com

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